If you’re looking for the best mixing headphones, there are plenty of options available in the market. However, with so many different models, brands, and prices, it can be challenging to know where to start. In this blog post, we will be looking at five quality pairs of studio headphones that are suitable for every budget, ranging from $100 to $600.
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Why use mixing headphones at all?
Headphones offer several advantages over studio monitors in certain situations. Firstly, headphones provide a more isolated listening environment, allowing for greater accuracy in monitoring and detection of subtle nuances in the mix. Additionally, headphones are typically less affected by room acoustics, which can significantly impact the sound quality of studio monitors. Mixing headphones are also useful for working in environments where sound leakage may be an issue, such as in a shared workspace or late-night sessions. Headphones are also often more affordable than high-quality studio monitors, making them a more accessible option for those on a budget.
While studio monitors will always have their place in the mixing process, headphones can be a valuable tool to have in a producer or engineer’s arsenal. So let’s dive in and talk about the best mixing and mastering headphones for all entry levels.
The Pros & Cons of using mixing headphones
Using headphones for mixing music has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that headphones provide a more accurate representation of the stereo field, as they isolate each channel of audio and provide a more detailed sound. They also allow the user to hear small details in the mix that may not be noticeable through speakers. However, one major disadvantage is that headphones can cause ear fatigue and potentially damage hearing if used for extended periods at high volumes.
The sound of headphones can also be influenced by the shape and size of the user’s ears, which may result in an inaccurate representation of the mix. Therefore, it is important to use a combination of headphones and speakers for mixing music to ensure the best possible mix.
Headphone models in this article
|Model||Price||Type||Frequency Response||Impedance||Sensitivity||Noise Isolation||Cable Type|
|Audio-Technica ATH M40x||$100||Closed-Back Over-Ear||15Hz-24kHz||35 Ohms||98 dB||Good||Straight and Coiled|
|Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro||$150||Closed-Back Over-Ear||5Hz-35kHz||32/80/250 Ohms||96 dB||Very Good||Coiled|
|Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro||$180||Open-Back Over-Ear||5Hz-35kHz||250 Ohms||96 dB||Poor||Coiled|
|Sennheiser HD 600||$400||Open-Back Over-Ear||12Hz-40kHz||300 Ohms||97 dB||Fair||Straight|
|Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro||$600||Closed-Back Over-Ear||5Hz-40kHz||250 Ohms||102 dB||Very Good||Straight and Coiled|
Best Budget Mixing Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH M40x
The Audio-Technica ATH M40x is an excellent choice for anyone on a budget. These studio headphones are priced at around $100 and come with a bag and two detachable cables. The M40x has a decent level of comfort, with earcups that might be a bit stiff for some, but you can replace them with more comfortable ones if you have the budget. The build quality is full plastic, so they may not last as long as slightly more expensive metal options. However, they offer great value for the price, with a good balance in the mid-range, a nice low-end, and sharp high-end frequencies.
Designed for professional use, the ATH-M40x is a closed-back, over-ear headphone that provides accurate and balanced sound, making it ideal for critical listening and studio monitoring.
One of the standout features of the ATH-M40x is its sound signature, which is flat and neutral, with no artificially boosted bass or treble frequencies. This results in a highly accurate and detailed sound that is well-suited for critical listening and mixing/mastering in a studio setting. The headphones use 40mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, which contribute to their detailed and balanced sound.
In terms of build quality, the ATH-M40x is highly durable, with a robust plastic body that can withstand wear and tear over time. The ear cups are padded with memory foam and covered with synthetic leather, providing a comfortable fit for extended listening sessions. The ear cups also swivel 90 degrees, making it easy to monitor audio with just one ear, which is useful for DJs and other professionals.
While the ATH-M40x lacks some of the features of higher-end headphones, such as wireless connectivity or noise-cancellation, it is a highly affordable option that offers excellent value for its price point. It comes with two detachable cables, one straight and one coiled, as well as a carrying pouch for easy transport.
In conclusion, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is a professional-grade headphone that delivers accurate and detailed sound, making it an excellent choice for critical listening and studio use. Its durable build and comfortable fit, as well as its affordable price point, make it a popular choice among professionals and audiophiles alike.
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones are one of the best value options on the market, costing around $150. These headphones are designed to be robust and give you clean, honest sound reproduction that no other headphones can offer at this price point. The DT770 Pro headphones get a solid 9 out of 10 in terms of comfort, with a perfect headband squeeze and soft earcups that fit over the ear. These headphones are offered at three different impedance levels, giving you options depending on your setup and personal needs.
The headphones have been a staple in the audio industry for many years, and they are known for their high-quality construction and excellent sound quality.
One of the most impressive aspects of the DT 770 Studio is its sound signature, which is characterized by a neutral, flat frequency response that allows for accurate and detailed sound reproduction. The headphones use 45mm dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets that produce clear and detailed sound across the frequency range. The closed-back design of the headphones helps to isolate the sound, which is particularly useful in noisy environments.
In terms of build quality, the DT 770 Studio is a well-constructed headphone that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday use. The headphones feature a rugged metal frame and a padded headband that provides excellent comfort, even during extended listening sessions. The earpads are also soft and comfortable, and they can be easily replaced if needed.
The DT 770 Studio is available in several different versions, including 32, 80, and 250 ohm variants. The 80-ohm version is recommended for use with professional audio equipment, as it provides a balanced and detailed sound that is well-suited for studio use. The 32-ohm version is more suitable for use with portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, while the 250-ohm version is designed for use with high-end audio equipment.
While the DT 770 Studio lacks some features of higher-end headphones, such as wireless connectivity or active noise cancelling capabilities, it remains an excellent choice for those seeking accurate and detailed sound for critical listening or studio use. Its durability, comfort, and excellent sound quality make it a popular choice among audio professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Advanced Mixing Headphones
Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro
If comfort is your top priority, the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro headphones are an excellent option. These open-back studio headphones cost around $300 and come with a travel bag and two detachable cables. The squeeze is perfect, and the earcups are as soft as can be, providing amazing comfort. The build quality is also solid, with a metal headband, and they come in a low impedance of 48 ohms, making them suitable for all devices from mobile phones to quality headphone amps and interfaces.
The DT 990 Pro features an open-back design, which means that the ear cups are open to the outside environment. This allows for a more natural sound and improved soundstage, but it also means that sound can leak out of the headphones, making them less than ideal for noisy environments. The headphones come in two color options – black and gray – and are built to be durable and long-lasting. The ear cups are large and comfortable, and the adjustable headband ensures a secure fit for all head sizes.
One of the standout features of the DT 990 Pro is its exceptional sound quality. The headphones are tuned to deliver a neutral and balanced sound signature, which means that no frequency range is overly emphasized. This makes them an ideal choice for critical listening and studio work. The headphones also have a wide frequency range, from 5 Hz to 35 kHz, which means they can accurately reproduce both low and high-frequency sounds.
The DT 990 Pro uses dynamic transducers with a high magnetic field strength, which helps deliver precise and detailed audio. The headphones also have an impedance of 250 ohms, which means they require a powerful amplifier to drive them properly. If you don’t have a high-quality amplifier, you may not be able to hear the full potential of these headphones.
The DT 990 Pro comes with a coiled cable that measures 3 meters when fully extended. The cable terminates in a 3.5mm jack, but it also comes with a 6.35mm adapter, which makes it compatible with a wide range of audio equipment. The cable is replaceable, which means you can easily swap it out if it gets damaged or if you want a different length.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is a solid choice for anyone looking for a set of headphones that deliver exceptional sound quality without breaking the bank. The open-back design, wide frequency range, and balanced sound signature make them an ideal choice for critical listening and studio work. However, their high impedance means that you will need a powerful amplifier to drive them properly. If you’re in the market for a set of affordable, high-quality headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is definitely worth considering.
Sennheiser HD 600
The Sennheiser HD 600 headphones are priced at around $400 and are designed to give you great comfort and pure sound quality. They are really comfortable, coming with soft earcups that fully cover your ears. However, the build quality of these headphones is mainly plastic, and the wires are thin and fragile. These studio headphones are an excellent choice for those who value comfort and sound quality over durability.
The HD 600 is an over-ear, open-back design headphone. The open-back design provides a wider soundstage and more natural sound, but it also means that sound can leak out of the headphones, making them less than ideal for noisy environments. The headphones have a classic design with a simple and understated look. They come with velour ear pads that are comfortable and breathable, even during extended listening sessions.
The HD 600 is known for its exceptional sound quality, which is why it has become a favorite of audiophiles and music producers alike. The headphones use advanced dynamic transducers that deliver a flat, neutral sound signature. This means that no frequency range is overly emphasized, which makes the HD 600 an ideal choice for critical listening and studio work. The headphones also have a wide frequency range, from 12 Hz to 39 kHz, which means they can accurately reproduce both low and high-frequency sounds.
The HD 600 has an impedance of 300 ohms, which means they require a powerful amplifier to drive them properly. If you don’t have a high-quality amplifier, you may not be able to hear the full potential of these headphones.
The HD 600 comes with a detachable, Kevlar-reinforced cable that measures 3 meters in length. The cable terminates in a 3.5mm jack, but it also comes with a 6.35mm adapter, which makes it compatible with a wide range of audio equipment. The cable is replaceable, which means you can easily swap it out if it gets damaged or if you want a different length.
The Sennheiser HD 600 is a high-quality set of headphones that delivers exceptional sound quality and comfort. The open-back design, flat sound signature, and wide frequency range make them an ideal choice for critical listening and studio work. However, their high impedance means that you will need a powerful amplifier to drive them properly. If you’re in the market for a set of high-end, audiophile-grade headphones, the Sennheiser HD 600 is definitely worth considering.
Expert Headphones for Mixing
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
If you’re looking for a dream pair of headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro is a top-of-the-line option, costing around $600. These headphones come with a carry case, two extra ear pads, and two detachable cables, one standard and one coiled. The comfort is top-notch, with comfortable ear pads and a good headband squeeze. The build quality is on another level, with an all-metal build that is solid and durable. These headphones tick all the boxes from comfort, build quality, accessories, look, design, and pure sound quality.
The Beyerdynamic Pro (DT 1770) features a closed-back design, which means that the ear cups are sealed, providing excellent noise isolation. The headphones are built to be durable and long-lasting, with high-quality materials used throughout. The ear cups are large and comfortable, and the adjustable headband ensures a secure fit for all head sizes. The headphones come with two sets of ear pads, one made of leatherette and one made of velour, so you can choose the one that suits your preferences.
The DT 1770 Pro is known for its exceptional sound quality, which is why it has become a favorite of audio professionals. The headphones use advanced Tesla drivers that deliver a detailed and accurate sound signature. The headphones have a wide frequency range, from 5 Hz to 40 kHz, which means they can accurately reproduce both low and high-frequency sounds.
The Beyerdynamic Pro (DT 1770) has an impedance of 250 ohms, which means they require a powerful amplifier to drive them properly. However, they are more efficient than some other high-end headphones, so they may work well with some portable devices.
The DT 1770 Pro comes with two detachable cables, one straight and one coiled, both measuring 3 meters in length. The cables terminate in a 3.5mm jack, but they also come with a 6.35mm adapter, which makes them compatible with a wide range of audio equipment. The cables are replaceable, which means you can easily swap them out for whatever reason.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro is an excellent choice for mixing engineers who are looking for a reliable set of headphones that can deliver accurate and detailed sound. With its high-quality build, exceptional sound quality, closed-back design, and interchangeable ear pads, the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro is a versatile and reliable tool that can help you achieve the best possible mix.
Choosing the right pair of studio headphones can be a daunting task, but hopefully, this article has helped you narrow down your options and find the perfect fit for your needs and budget. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a professional looking for the best possible sound quality, there is a pair of headphones out there that will meet your expectations. So, do your research, read some reviews, and most importantly, trust your ears. Happy listening!
What headphone is best for mixing?
When it comes to mixing, the best headphones are those that provide an accurate and neutral representation of the audio. A good set of headphones should have a frequency response that doesn’t emphasize any particular frequency range, making it easier to hear any issues with the mix. An open-back design can aid in creating a more natural and spacious sound, helping to achieve a balanced mix. Ultimately, the choice of headphones for mixing will depend on personal preferences, budget, and other factors such as comfort and durability.
Is it OK to mix with headphones?
Mixing with headphones can be a useful tool for producers and engineers, especially when working in a home or mobile studio environment where a proper monitoring setup isn’t available. However, it’s important to be aware that mixing on headphones can present some challenges. Headphones can create an artificial stereo field, and their frequency response may not be as accurate as studio monitors. Prolonged headphone use can also be fatiguing and may result in ear fatigue or hearing damage. Therefore, it’s recommended to use a combination of headphones and studio monitors to achieve the best possible mix.
Is it better to mix on headphones or monitors?
When it comes to mixing, the debate between using headphones or studio monitors is ongoing, and the answer depends on individual preferences and circumstances. Studio monitors are a preferred choice for mixing due to their accurate frequency response and ability to create an immersive soundstage. However, working on monitors requires a suitable acoustic environment, which can be a challenge in a home or mobile studio setup. On the other hand, headphones can provide an isolated listening experience, allowing for more focused attention to detail. They can also be a useful tool when working in noisy environments. We’d recommend to use a combination of headphones and studio monitors to achieve a well-balanced and accurate mix.
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Limp mass material types can never achieve the proper rates of absorption that music and voice require.
Actually, fiberglass is more effective at absorbing bass frequencies than rockwool is, as long as it is thick enough. Denser…
Thanks, for this.
What are the frequency and amplitudes of your noise issues.